“Church be church.”
On June 11, 2016, I was honored to participate in a panel discussion on church and community at the Cornerstone Baptist Saturday Leadership Academy in Spartanburg, SC. This extraordinary assembly of church members committed to the transformation of our community delved directly into the most difficult aspects of our life together, especially on the weight of poverty in the City of Spartanburg.
It was a privilege to be in the room with such a gathering, and to share the platform with Monier Abusaft (attorney and immediate past president of the Spartanburg branch of the NAACP), Matt Petrofes (DHEC), Dr. Carlotta Redish (Spartanburg School District 7), and Roysean Philson (Spartanburg County Foundation).
I was asked to address how a church can transform the social environment of its community. Based on the Spartanburg Community Indicators Project, I spoke about the exemplary work in child advocacy of USC-Upstate, in poverty and access to services of the Middle Tyger Community Center and the Upstate Family Resource Center, and in poverty and support for families of 3-Degrees Mentoring. And of Cornerstone Baptist Church, which understands the teaching of Wes Moore: “We must think of our families, not as these are my children and those are yours, but as ‘These are all our children.'”
My part of the panel remarks may be heard here. They begin with a prepared address, then following a break move into a response to the question: “What can a church do to transform its community?”
I am very grateful for the opportunity to spend the morning with this focused team of leaders.